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(Bengali: ত্রিপুরা) is a state in North-East India, with an area of 4,051 sq. mi. or 10,491.69 km². Tripura has disputed borders and is surrounded by Bangladeshmarker on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assammarker and Mizorammarker lie to the east. The capital is Agartalamarker and the main languages spoken is Bengali. It was formerly an independent Tripuri kingdom and was merged with independent Indiamarker on 15 October 1949 by the Tripura Merger Agreement. It was also known as Hill Tippera (anglicized version of Tripura) during the British Raj period and has a history of over 2500 years and 186 kings .

Origin of name

Several theories exist pertaining to the origin of Tripura's name:
  • The origin of the word Tripura is attributed to the legendary tyrant king of Tripura, Tripur. According to legend, Tripur was the 39th descendant of Druhya, who was a descendant of Yayati, one of the lunar race kings. He was so powerful that he ordered his subjects to worship him as the sole God. People fled to escape his tyranny to the nearby state of Hiramba (Cacharmarker).
  • The word Tripura may have originated from Tripura Sundari: the presiding deity of the land which is famous as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, pilgrimage centres of Shakti worshippers of Hinduism.
  • According to another school of thought the name Tripura was probably given to the state in honour of the temple at Udaipur, Tripureshwari, the wife of lord Shiva.


Flag of the Twipra Kingdom

Tripura finds mentions in the Mahabharata, the Puranas and pillar inscriptions of Emperor Ashoka. Tripura has a long historic past, its unique tribal culture and a fascinating folklore.In the distant past Tripura was known as Kirat Desh. There are references of Tripura in the Mahabharat and the Puranas. Tripura, the descendent of King Druya and Bhabru, contemporary of Yudhishtara, was the ruler on whose name Tripura is named. One more explanation says that the territory is named after the temple of Tripuri Sundari, located at Radhakrishnapur.

Tripura was a princely state. The Tripuri Kings (Habugra) held the title of Manikya and ruled Tripura for 3000 years until its merger. Udaipurmarker, in South Tripura district, was the capital of the Kingdom. The capital was shifted to Old Agartalamarker by King Krishna Manikya in the eighteenth century, and then to the present Agartala in the 19th Century. The 19th century marked the beginning of Tripura's modern era, when King Bir Chandra Manikya Bahadur Debbarma modeled his administration on the pattern of British India and enacted various reforms.

The Bengali Ganamukti Parishad movement led to the integration of the kingdom with India in 1949 within Assammarker state. Tripura was heavily affected by the partition of India and the majority of the population are Hindu Bengalis. Tripura became a centrally administered Union Territory on July 1, 1963 and attained the status of a full-fledged state on January 21, 1972.

Armed conflict in Tripura has been a problem since the end of the 1970s as an aftermath of Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Widespread insurgency and militancy in the state with groups such as the Tripura National Volunteers, the National Liberation Front of Tripura and the All Tripura Tiger Force of the Tripura tribals aiming to drive away the native Bengali people is the tripura tribal rebellion.

Geography and climate

Tripura's landscape

Tripura is a landlocked hilly state in northeastern Indiamarker with altitudes varying from 15 to 940 m above sea level, though the majority of the population lives in the plains. Tripura has a tropical climate and receives rainfall during the monsoons. It is surrounded on the north, west, and south by Bangladeshmarker and is accessible to the rest of India through the Karimganjmarker district of Assam and Aizawlmarker district of Mizorammarker in the east. The state extends between 22°56'N and 24°32'N and 90°09'E and 92°10'E. Its maximum stretch measures about 184 km from north to south and 113 km from east to west with an area of 10,491.69 km². Tripura is the third smallest state of the country.

Although landlocked, Tripura has many rivers including the Manu Rivermarker which originates here.


Gross State
Domestic Product
at Current Prices
(1999–2000 Base)
figures in millions
of Indian Rupees
Year Gross State
Domestic Product
1980 2,860
1985 5,240
1990 10,310
1995 22,960
2000 52,700

Tripura's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $2.1 billion in current prices. Agriculture and allied activities is the mainstay of the people of Tripura and provides employment to about 64% of the population. There is a preponderance of food crop cultivation over cash crop cultivation in Tripura. At present about 62% of the net sown area is under food crop cultivation. Paddy is the principal crop, followed by oilseed, pulses, potato, and sugarcane. Tea and rubber are the important cash crops of the State. Tripura has been declared the Second Rubber Capital of India after Keralamarker by the Indian Rubber Board. Handicraft, particularly hand-woven cotton fabic, wood carvings, and bamboo products, are also important. The per capita income at current prices of the state stands at INRs 10,931 and at constant prices Rs 6,813 in the financial year 2000-2001.

Some quality timber like sal, garjan, teak, and Gamar are found abundantly in the forests of Tripura. Tripura has poor mineral resources, with meagre deposits of kaolin, iron ore, limestone, coal but this state has considerable amount of natural gas reserve. The industrial sector of the state continues to be highly underdeveloped.

Government and politics

Tripura is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy, a feature the state shares with other Indian states. Universal suffrage is granted to residents. There are three branches of government. The legislature, the Tripura Legislative Assembly, consists of elected members and special office bearers such as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, that are elected by the members. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker in the Speaker's absence. The judiciary is composed of the Guwahati High Court (Agartala Bench) and a system of lower courts. Executive authority is vested in the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister, although the titular head of government is the Governor. The Governor is the head of state appointed by the President of India. The leader of the party or coalition with a majority in the Legislative Assembly is appointed as the Chief Minister by the Governor, and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers reports to the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly is unicameral with 60 Members of the Legislative Assembly, or MLAs. Terms of office run for 5 years, unless the Assembly is dissolved prior to the completion of the term. Tripura sends 2 representatives to the Lok Sabha and 1 representative to the Rajya Sabha. Auxiliary authorities known as panchayats, for which local body elections are regularly held, govern local affairs. Tripura also has an autonomous tribal council, the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council which has it head-quarters in Khumulwngmarker.

The main political parties are the Left Front and the Indian National Congress. Tripura is currently governed by Left Front, with Manik Sarkar as Chief Minister. Until 1977 the state was governed by the Indian National Congress. The left front governed from 1978 to 1988, and then returned in power in 1993. During 1988–1993 the state was governed by a coalition of the Congress and Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti. On the last elections (23 February 2008) the Left Front gained 49 out of 60 seats in the Parliament, 46 of which went to the CPI(M).


State of Tripura having 4 districts, roadways & small railway network.

For administrative purposes, the state has been divided into 4 districts, 17 subdivisions, 40 development blocks.
Districts Head-quarters Population Area (in km²)
Dhalai Ambassamarker 307,417 2312
North Tripura Kailashaharmarker 590,655 2470
South Tripura Udaipurmarker 762,565 2624
West Tripuramarker Agartalamarker 1,530,531 3544

Major towns of the state are Agartalamarker, Bishalgarh, Jogendranagar,Sonamuramarker, Amarpur, Dharmanagarmarker, Pratapgarh, Udaipurmarker, Kailashaharmarker, Teliamuramarker, Indranagar, Khowaimarker, and Beloniamarker. Badharghat, Jogendranagar, and Indranagar are now parts of the Agartala municipality.

Transport and communication

Tripura is connected with the rest of the country through Assam by Broad gauge railway line extending to Lumdingmarker and Silcharmarker. The main railways stations are in Agartalamarker , Dharmanagarmarker, Kumarghat. National Highway 44 connects it to Assam and the rest of India.

Agartala Airportmarker, which has flights to Kolkatamarker, Guwahatimarker, Bangaloremarker, Chennaimarker, Delhimarker, and Silcharmarker, is the main airport of the state.

Most of the major Telecommunications companies of India are present in the state, with the state capital and regions of the state being served by Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Reliance and BSNLmarker landline, mobile, and broadband networks.


Tripura is the second most populous state in North-East India, after Assammarker. According to the census of 2001, Tripura has a total population of 3,199,203, with a density of 305 persons per square kilometer, and ranks 22nd among Indian states. It constitutes 0.31% population of India and 8.18% of the Northeast. In the 2001 census of India, native Bengalis represent almost 70% of Tripura's population and the immigrant tribal populations represent 30% of Tripura's population. The immigrant tribal population comprises several different tribes and ethnic groups with diverse languages and cultures with the largest tribal group being the Kokborok-speaking tribes of the Tripuri (16% of the state's population), the Jamatia, the Reang, and the Noatia tribal communities. There is some tension between these native tribal settlers and Bengali population in tribal areas.

Tripura ranks 22nd in the human resource development index and 24th in the poverty index in India according to 1991 sources. The literacy rate of Tripura is 73.2%, higher than the national rate of 65.20%.

Hinduism is the majority religion in the state, with 85.6% of the population following the religion. Muslims make up 8.0% of the population, Christians 3.2%, and Buddhists 3.1%.
Communities in Tripura
Community Language Language Family
Bengali Bengali Indo-European
Tipra/Tripuri Tripuri Sino-Tibetan
Bishnupriya Manipuri Bishnupriya Manipuri Indo-European
Manipuri Meitei Sino-Tibetan
Chakma Changma Vaj Indo-European
Kuki Kuki Sino-Tibetan
Mizo Mizo Sino-Tibetan
Magh/ Arakanese Magh/ Arakanese Tibeto-Burman
This represents a major change in the religious composition of the state over time. In 1941 the population was 70% Hindu, 23% Muslim and 6% followers of tribal religions.


Today most of the Hindus in Tripura, both those who are Bengali and the Tripuri and numerous tribes, are adherents of an animist-Shaktism hybrid of Hinduism, which was the state religion under the Bengali Tripuri kings. 'Tripura' is the name of a BengaliHindu form of Durga. Bengali Brahmin priests (called chantais) are regarded as custodians of dharma and occupy an exalted position in Tripura Bengali society.

Important gods are Shiva and Tripureshwari (patron goddess of Tripura and an aspect of Shakti). Several fertility gods are also worshipped, such as Lam-Pra (the twin deities of sky and sea), Mailu-ma (goddess of corn, identified with Lakshmi), Khulu-ma (goddess of the cotton plant), and Burha-cha (god of healing).

Bengali Durga Puja, Bijoyadosomi, and the worship of the Chaturdasha deities are important festivals. The Ganga Sagar festival in which Tripura's Bengalis worship the Ganga Rivermarker.


Muslims of Tripura, as most other parts of India, are second largest religious group in the state. Ethnically, they are mostly Bengali and follow the Sunni sect of Islam.


Children in Tripura prepare for a traditional dance.
Tripura has several diverse ethno-linguistic groups, which has given rise to a composite culture. The dominant culture is Tripuris, Jamatia, Reang, Noatia, Koloi, Murasing, Chakma, Halam, Garo, Kuki, Mizo, Mogh, Munda, Oraon, Santhal, and Uchoi.

Tripura has a rich cultural heritage of music, fine arts, handicrafts and dance. Music is an integral part of the tribal people of Tripura. Some of their indigenous instruments are the sarinda, chongpreng, and sumui (a kind of flute). Songs are sung during religious occasions, marriages, and other festivals. Agricultural festivals are integral to the culture of the state.

Dance is important to the tribal way of life. Dances are performed during Goria Puja. Hojagiri dance is performed by standing on a pitcher and is performed by the Reang clans. The Bihu dance is performed by the Chakmas during Chaitra Sankranti (the last day of the month of Chaitra).

Flora and fauna

The state is located in the bio-geographic zone of 9B-North-East Hills and possesses an extremely rich bio-diversity. The local flora and faunal components of Indo-Malayan and Indo-Chinese sub-regions. There are 379 species of trees, 320 shrubs, 581 herbs, 165 climbers, 16-climbing shrubs, 35 ferns, and 45 epiphytes.

Wildlife sanctuaries of the state include Sipahijola Wildlife Sanctuary, Gumti Wildlife sanctuary, Roa Wildlife Sanctuary, and Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary. National parks of the state include Clouded Leopard National Park, Sepahijola, and Rajbari National Park, Trishna.


Tripura schools are run by the state government or by private organisations, including religious institutions. Instruction is mainly in English and Bengali. Secondary schools are affiliated with the CISCE, the CBSE, or the Tripura Board of Secondary Education. Under the 10+2+3 plan, after completing secondary school, students typically enroll for 2 years in a junior college, also known as pre-university, or in schools with a higher secondary facility. Notable higher education institutions of Tripura are MBB College, National Institute of Technology, Tripura Institute of Technology, Tripura University, and ICFAI University all located in Agartala.


Football and cricket are the most popular sports in the state. The state capital Agartalamarker has its own club football championships every year where many local clubs compete in a league and knockout format.

Tripura participates as an Eastern state team in the Ranji Trophy, the Indian domestic Cricket competition. The state also is a regular participant of the Indian National Games and the North Eastern Games.

See also

Places of interest


  1. Tripura History
  2. Govt. of Tripura
  3. Hill Tippera - History The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 13, p. 118.
  4. Hill Tippera, from Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.
  5. Tripura
  6. Results of the elections
  7. Indian Census
  8. Columbia-Lippincott Gazeteer. p. 1947
  9. "Tribals of Tripura celebrate Ganga festival"

Further reading

  • Jagadis Gan-Chaudhuri (1985), An Anthology of Tripura, Inter India Publications ISBN 8121000750
  • Roychoudhury, N.R. (1977), Tripura Through the Ages: A Short History of Tripura from the Earliest Times to 1947 A.D., Bureau of Research & Publications on Tripura.
  • Bhattacharjee, P.R. (1994), Economic Transition in Tripura (Hardcover), Vikas Publishing House ISBN 978-0706971712
  • Palit, P.K. (2004), History of Religion in Tripura (Hardcover) Kaveri Books ISBN 978-8174790644
  • Debbarma, Chandramani (2006), Glory of Tripura Civilisation Parul Prakashani, Agartala

External links

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